lunchbox life: kale, roasted golden carrot, and chicken bowl with honey peanut sriracha drizzle

honey sriracha chicken

Happy New Year, readers! I hope you had a restful holiday full of friends, family, and relaxation. While some people returned to work this past Friday, many of us will make our triumphant returns tomorrow. Most of us have healthy eating on our minds, and while I hate to succumb to the early January health kick everyone seems to join, I offer a different view instead of eye-rolling or irritation: don’t we all want to correct our overindulgence from the holiday season? Isn’t that pretty normal? I think it’s pretty normal to consume a few extra snacks, desserts, and drinks in the month of December, just like it’s pretty normal to want to get back to healthy eating in January. So have no fear, healthy friends: I’m not judging you. I’m right there with you working to get back in my routine, and while I’m not jumping for joy to go back to work, I’m looking forward to getting back into my routines.

OK, sermon over. This week’s lunch shines with nutrition and is anything but boring. For the featured meal, I’ve relied on our awesome CSA box for inspiration. First, I was attracted to my favorite green, kale. I removed the stems, chopped up the kale leaves into bite size pieces and placed them in a bowl, drizzled it with about 2 tsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper, then massaged the kale for about 30 seconds to help break down some of the fibrous leaves.

We also  received some beautiful golden carrots, and when I peeled them, a bright, happy yellow flavor appeared. I quickly diced about five of the carrots, drizzled a touch of olive oil, and sprinkled some big flavors onto the pieces: 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and few grinds of black pepper. After roasting them at 400 F for about 20 minutes on parchment paper, I turned off the heat and left them in the oven to stay warm.

Next, I took two large chicken breasts and cut them lengthwise, about 1/2 inch thick, to create about 10 chicken breast “steaks.” I heat 2 tsp. canola oil in a large, flat-bottomed pan, then sprinkled one side of the chicken steaks with salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic powder (use as much/little as you like). In batches, I cooked the chicken for about 6 minutes on each side, seasoning side down. While the first side cooked, I sprinkled the other with salt and pepper. When all of the chicken was cooked and cooled, I diced them and set them aside.

Now, for the dressing. Combine the following ingredients in a small jar: 2 Tbsp. PB2 powder, 2 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce, 1 Tbsp. water, 1 tsp. honey, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper. Shake vigorously, then stir with a spoon to ensure that all of the peanut powder is integrated into the dressing. Shake again. You could certainly use 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter if you like, but PB2 is lower in fat and calories and is all natural, so I like to use it when I can.

To assemble: fill five bowls with massaged kale, then evenly divide the carrots and chicken between the bowls. Using a spoon, drizzle the dressing over the kale bowls, then devour. Yum!

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